Adappt in sink with Coworking

Coworking, Hoteling, Flexwork, Oh My!

Open offices get a bad rap, and there are so many new terms being thrown around to describe the new ways of working with the advent of the Digital Age. Coworking? Free-address? Activity-based? What does it all mean? Adappt’s solutions grew out of the needs of these various dynamic work environments so we’re here to set the record straight with some definitions and descriptions.

  1. Coworking
    • Coworking spaces are shared workspaces often connected with a community approach. Coworkers collaboratively work in a physically shared space. (
    • the use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge. (Google)
    • Coworking is a business services provision model that involves individuals working independently or collaboratively in shared office space. (
    • “Coworking” or “co-working,” with a lower-case ‘c’, is a generic word that’s generally used to describe any situation in which two or more people are working in the same place together, but not for the same company. (
  2. Hoteling.
    • “the short-term provision of office space to a temporary worker.” OR “the short-term letting of surplus office space to employees from other companies.” (Google)
    • Alternative work arrangement where the employees (who usually work at home) are provided with temporary work space (usually a cubicle) at a non-office location when required. Popular with professional services firms. (
    • Hoteling is a term used to describe the practice of providing office space to employees on an as-needed basis instead of by means of a permanent workspace—cubicle or office. (
    • But at some companies, there is no assigned seating. Instead, employees must reserve a work space every day — be it a desk, office, quiet pod or meeting room — whatever suits the type of work they need to do that day. It’s called hoteling. (
  3. Free-address
    • What used to be called “hotelling” or “hot desking” is now referred to as “free addressing” or “touchdown space”: an open desk policy that allows employees to sit wherever they choose on a given day, working from anywhere in the office at anytime. (, the first result on Google for this definition)
    • In free-address, your work lives on a server—even more likely, it’s in the cloud. You can plug into any monitor installed across the work environment to access, display, and collaborate around your work. (
    • Quite simply, free addressing is the technology-enabled ability to take a seat anywhere in a specific segment of the portfolio. Work areas are categorized by capabilities of the space rather than by business unit. (JLL)
  4. Activity-based workspaces.
    • Activity-based working (ABW) is a transformational business strategy that provides people with a choice of settings for a variety of workplace activities. Rather than forcing individuals to undertake all their work at one setting, such as a fixed desk or within a designated cubicle, ABW seeks to encourage people to physically locate themselves where it is most suitable for them to complete their work. Spaces are designed to create opportunities for a variety of workplace activities from intense, focused work to impromptu and informal meetings or more formal meetings. (Wikipedia)
    • Activity based working (ABW) is based on the premise that no employee ‘owns’ or has an assigned workstation. Rather, the broader workspace provides employees with a variety of predetermined activity areas that allow them to conduct specific tasks including learning, focusing, collaborating and socialising. An ABW approach is based on appraising performance through work outputs instead of work processes and requires training and support from HR (change in performance appraisal policies and procedures) and IT (change in the mobile capacity of systems and technologies). (
    • Activity-based working was coined by Erik Veldhoen in his 1995 book The Demise of the Office. It refers to a workplace strategy where instead of assigning an employee a dedicated workstation where they sit all day, an organization provides its employees with access to a variety of different work areas that are reserved for specific activities – structured meetings, informal pow-wows, personal time, among other uses. (iOffice – a competitor’s blog)
  5. Open office
    • Open office mainly refers to the layout of the space which avoids having walls or even dividers between desks. It is much more open which comes with aesthetic advantages but often also with productivity disadvantages, e.g. thinking about noise levels or visual distractions. (
    • Open office is a place where the staff and equipment of all the departments are accommodated in a single room. Each department or section or division of the office is allotted a specific space under the same roof. (
    • By now the backlash against the open office—which, by industry definition, includes spaces with cubicles since cubicle walls aren’t permanent, but by popular definition means a space without any high dividers—has reached fever pitch. (
    • An open office space in simplistic terms refers to the use of large open areas to minimize the use of small enclosed office rooms. Open offices originally pioneered in 1950’s have recently regained their popularity as the chosen layout for many businesses for a variety of reasons. (
  6. Flexwork.
    1. Work practice (explained by the employer in employment policies and contracts) that allows the employees a certain degree of freedom in deciding how the work will be done and how they’ll coordinate their schedules with those of other employees. The employer sets certain limits such as minimum and maximum number of hours of work every day, and the core time during which all employees must be present. (
    2. Differentiators between full-time and part-time (
      1. Full Time flexible options include
        1. Flexible hours (flextime) – the ability to choose the start and finish time of the working day within core hours
        2. Telework (flexplace) – the chance to work from home or another place one or several days a week
        3. Time banks – the ability to take time off in compensation for overtime
        4. Compressed work weeks – such as working four longer days and taking the fifth day of the week off, or working a nine-day fortnight
      2. Part Time options include working a few days a week, say three days instead of the traditional five days, and other forms such as v-time-working. The ‘v’ stands for voluntary reduced hours, with the individual working to an agreed reduced schedule for a certain period, for example during the school holidays, with the chance to work the usual hours after that period ends
    3. A flexwork arrangement is a work plan that differs from the standard workweek. A standard workweek consists of five consecutive eight-hour workdays and consistent start and end times for each workday. (University of Washington HR)


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